It’s always a good time to market your travel business – to revamp your welcome email, interact on social media, improve your website, and research your next ad campaign. But did you know that low season is the best time?
Here in Costa Rica, the rains are rolling in and many small hotels and travel agencies are preparing for the coming storms – and the coming lull in business. And while it’s true that beds will be emptier, calendars will be clearer, and pockets will be lighter during these upcoming months, it’s also true that times of famine offer the best moments to tackle, improve and supercharge your travel marketing strategy.
The top reason: tourists do the bulk of their vacation planning far in advance, so they’re already busy booking for high season while you’re riding out the off-season storm. Not convinced? Here are five reasons you need to up your travel marketing game during the low season:
1. Tourists are Booking. Right Now.
According to a recent study, 34% of U.S. travelers book their vacations four to six months in advance. (And an informal survey found similar results, reporting that 41% of travelers plan three to six months in advance.) So while you’re scraping by in June, your future guests are pulling out their credit cards to book hotels, tours, and other travel services for October, November and December.
2. You Have Time
I know you’re itching to hang the “Back in a Month” sign, but all this free time is an ideal opportunity. Take some time everyday to read marketing blogs, peruse social media, and ask past customers to leave reviews. Really get into the who, what, where, when, why and how of tourism marketing. Today’s time investment can reap big-time financial rewards for tomorrow.
3. Make your Business Seasonal
Your competition has probably hit a lull during low season, and that’s exactly why you shouldn’t. It’s easy to stand out now, when no one else is trying. So find something (or, even better, many somethings) that make your destination shine during low season: turtle nesting, leaf peeping, ice fishing – pick an angle, any angle. Then promote it.
4. Reward Locals
Locals deserve some love, too. So while you’re scrambling for bookings, consider extending promotions to local residents. (Bonus: they don’t have to travel far, so they’re more likely to book last-minute.) Hit up Groupon – or Yuplón/Titicupon, if you’re in Costa Rica. Run a special on your website. Throw in a bottle of wine. Send an email blast for discounts or vouchers. Create a dream getaway for your local base.
5. Work as a Team
Other tourism businesses are suffering now, too, so it’s the perfect time to build friendships and make new connections. Consider teaming up with complementary businesses – travel agencies, tour operators, and restaurants – to build special, off-season packages. You can even set up a referral network. Everyone is hungry for more business now, so you’re more likely to encounter enthusiasm and willingness to market as a team.